The Advantage of Engineered Hardwood Floors Over Solid Hardwood

We are smitten with the timeless look of hardwood flooring. As a construction company, we split out time between being a custom home builder and a DFW renovations and historical home specialist. So, in our 23+ plus years of building in North Texas, we’ve refinished and installed our fair share of solid hardwood floors!

But after being introduced to DuChateau flooring, we now consider ourselves officially “schooled” in the world of luxury engineered hardwoods. We’ve asked our partners at DuChateau to explain some of the differences between solid hardwoods and engineered hardwood flooring. You might be surprised with all the advantages that come with engineered hardwoods. We certainly were!

The Integrity Custom showroom is stocked with Duchateau flooring samples and we can walk you through a local McKinney home where DuChateau flooring is installed. It’s beautiful! We will be using their LVT line in our homes in Gateway Village, too. Read below for all the details!

Strata-Flint Duchateau Flooring. Image credit Duchateau

Strata-Flint Duchateau Flooring. Image credit Duchateau

The Advantage of Engineered Hardwood Floors Over Solid Hardwood

Anyone interested in bringing the beauty of the natural world into their custom home with hardwood floors soon realizes that the search for the right floors begins with a choice: engineered hardwood or solid hardwood.

Both solid and engineered hardwood flooring will add a lifetime of beauty and value to your home and are available in a range of different species, colors and styles. From a purely aesthetic perspective, the two types of flooring are indistinguishable when installed properly. Both allow you to add the unique character and variation of natural wood to your interior décor.

However, if you look a little closer at things like installation, versatility, durability, sustainability, and value, you’ll see that engineered hardwood floors have some distinct advantages over their solid wood counterparts.

So, what exactly are the differences between solid and engineered hardwood flooring? And where does engineered hardwood have the edge? Let’s take a look.


Both solid and engineered hardwood floors are made from real natural wood. The difference is that solid hardwood flooring is milled from a single piece of solid lumber. Traditionally, solid hardwood comes in planks that are 3/4” thick, although thinner planks are often used in parquet-style patterned floors.

While engineered hardwood is also real wood, it is manufactured in layers. Anywhere from three to seven layers makes up the core of the product, with a hardwood veneer layer on top. All of the layers are bonded together with adhesives under heat and pressure. Engineered floor construction can range from 3/8” to 3/4” in thickness, with wear layers ranging from 1mm to 6mm. Thicker products with more substantial wear layers are generally more expensive but also of better quality.


Both solid and engineered hardwood flooring offer versatility when it comes to style and design. Solid hardwood flooring is primarily found in narrower styles from 2¼” to 5” widths. If you’re looking to finish your floors after installing them, solid is the way to go. The floor can be sanded in place and stained to the shade and style you desire.

Engineered hardwood can be produced in the same narrow widths as solid hardwood, but due to the added stability the bonded layers provide also ranges up to 12” in width. This wide spectrum of widths allows for infinitely more styling options. Both solid and engineered floors are available in a wide range of visuals as well, from traditional to specialty to rustic designs. But with today’s design trends opting for more open concepts in homes and commercial spaces, engineered styles offer considerably more choices to perfectly compliment your décor.

From the Duchateau LVT line, which will be going installed in the Integrity Custom homes at Gateway Village. Image credit Duchateau

From the Duchateau LVT line, which will be going installed in the Integrity Custom homes at Gateway Village. Image credit Duchateau


Solid hardwood floors are installed using nails, which means they require a plywood subfloor underneath them. When it comes to residential homes, only those with raised foundations have such subflooring. If you’re hoping to install solid hardwood floors over concrete, you’ll have to install a plywood subfloor first, which will add substantial cost to your project. Solid hardwood is also unsuitable for installing below grade, including in basements.

Engineered hardwood flooring gives you multiple installation options: glue, nail, staple, or float. These options allow for installation in a far greater range of locations since they aren’t limited by the type of subfloor in the structure. From basements to stairs to second floors and beyond, engineered floors can be installed just about anywhere.


Solid hardwood flooring is incredibly strong and durable. As a solid piece of wood, the surface can be sanded and refinished multiple times over the years. However, solid hardwood is much more susceptible to the effects of moisture than engineered wood, resulting in more dramatic expansion and contraction. This movement can lead to warping, cupping, and pronounced gapping between planks. Combine expansion and contraction with nail-down installation and you can end up with creaky floors as well.

Because of its multi-directional bonded and layered construction, engineered hardwood is more dimensionally stable than solid flooring. This means that movement in the flooring is minimized. The distinct construction of engineered wood forms a structure that, when properly acclimated, diminishes the gapping and buckling that comes from fluctuations in temperature and humidity.

Even though engineered floors have a defined wear layer, styles with thicker wear layers can still be sanded and refinished if necessary. But the quality of today’s finishes and warranties means there’s little need to sand an engineered wood floor unless you decide to remove its texture or change its color completely.

Herringbone Faber. Image credit Duchateau

Herringbone Faber. Image credit Duchateau

Herringbone Faber. Image credit Duchateau

Herringbone Faber. Image credit Duchateau


Unlike a solid wood floor, an engineered floor consists of at least two different types of wood adhered together. This means that the top layer can be a highly desired (but slow-growing) species of wood like oak, while the bottom layer can be a faster-growing tree species like spruce, pine, fir, birch or poplar.

Manufacturing floors in this way is measurably more sustainable. For every 1 square foot of 3/4” solid hardwood floor produced, you can manufacture more than 4 times the amount of engineered hardwood flooring.


As a whole, engineered hardwood floors tend to be less expensive than solid hardwood. Exceptions include premium collections with thicker top layers, uniquely artistic designs, or enhanced durability.

Due to the fact that they are often indistinguishable from solid hardwood floors, engineered hardwood provide just as high of a boost in the value of your home as solid wood floors.


When it comes to the search for your new hardwood floors, one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is also one of the most important: solid or engineered hardwood? After careful consideration of many factors, sometimes, engineered hardwood flooring is the better choice for you.

With versatility in design and installation, better durability against moisture, and a more sustainable manufacturing process—often all at a better value—it’s easy to see why engineered hardwood floors are increasingly the preferred choice of informed consumers.

DuChâteau proudly specializes in beautifully engineered hardwoods that span the design spectrum from aged and rustic to modern and contemporary. Integrity Custom is ecstatic to offer their luxury line of hardwoods for our custom new build and renovation clients.

To get started designing or renovating your dream home, Contact Us here.

McKinney Custom Home Builder-5 Ways to Use Architectural Salvage When Designing & Building a Custom Home

As a custom home builder in McKinney, TX,  we often are asked by clients to incorporate architectural salvage in their new home design or renovation. Our friends and owners of Patina Green Home and Market, Kaci and Robert Lyford, have recently opened an online store & McKinney pop up shop called East End Salvage. Twice a year, they travel to England and bring back amazing architectural salvage. An interior designer by trade, Kaci expertly weaves salvage and antiques into every design project. We’ve asked Kaci to share 5 ways that an Integrity Custom new build client can incorporate architectural salvage into their custom home design and build.

Kitchen Island

A kitchen island is the centerpiece of the room, literally. It should be special. Sourcing a unique piece for a kitchen island is the easiest way to add instant character into a newly built or renovated space. 

When we are shopping antique markets in England, we’re always looking for statement pieces that can be used as work tables in the kitchen. Old general store counters, retired butcher blocks, merchant display pieces, industrial workbenches, and one of my favorite antique pieces to hunt for, 19th-century draper’s tables.  These work tables were originally used in France by cloth merchants for measuring and cutting fabric.  The oak board tops are usually well-worn with lovely patina and once used in the kitchen, they will only get more beautiful with time.

Design by  Kaci Lyford . shop salvage kitchen islands online at  east end salvage ..

Design by Kaci Lyford. shop salvage kitchen islands online at east end salvage..



Incorporating a reclaimed sink into a bathroom or kitchen will require retrofitting from your custom builder, but is well worth the extra effort. A reclaimed sink adds a punch of drama to a smaller sized guest bath or hallway powder room.  We found this antique stone trough in France and had a custom iron base welded from parts of an old garden fence (also used to create the custom mirror).

Design by  kaci lyford . Shop salvage sinks online at  east end salvage .

Design by kaci lyford. Shop salvage sinks online at east end salvage.


Reclaimed Doors

Pantry, powder bath, utility room, bedroom, office, closets; homes have doors, and many of them, right? Each one is an opportunity to make a statement. The possibilities are truly endless in this category. At East End Salvage, we search for old doors with layers of original paint, paned doors with wavy glass, commercial metal doors, industrial fire-safe doors, paneled doors, barn doors that can be installed on sliders… you name it. A salvaged door not only has a great look but physically heightens the experience of entering a room. It just feels stylish.

If you are going to use reclaimed doors, one bit of advice is to communicate early with your builder. Allowances will need to made for specialty door frames and hardware, which may take time and ingenuity from your builder.

Photo by  House of Hargrove . Design by deanna rearden. shop salvage doors online at  East end salvage .

Photo by House of Hargrove. Design by deanna rearden. shop salvage doors online at East end salvage.


Fireplace Mantel

Yes, this Texas heat will soon come to an end and the days of curling up next to a warm fireplace will be here before we know it. Much like a kitchen island, the fireplace is the focal point of a room. I am crazy about simple wooden mantelpieces or cast iron surrounds just as much as the ones plastered in ornamental elements.  Over the next few buying trips, I will be searching for larger stone mantels (like the one pictured) and pallets of reclaimed tile that can be used again to create showstopping custom fireplace designs. Keep your eye on the East End Salvage online shop or send us an email here

Photography by  Kaci lyford . design by  Lisa Luby Ryan . Shop antique fireplace mantels onine at  east end salvage .

Photography by Kaci lyford. design by Lisa Luby Ryan. Shop antique fireplace mantels onine at east end salvage.


Salvaged Window Frames

Salvaged window frames should be used to highlight a window in a key location, such as above the kitchen sink or surrounding a free-standing tub in the bathroom.  Decorative window treatments aren’t necessary when you have a beautiful frame to look at!

Photography by  Melinda Ortley . Build by  Integrity Homes . Shop salvage window frames online at  east end salvage .

Photography by Melinda Ortley. Build by Integrity Homes. Shop salvage window frames online at east end salvage.


If you plan to incorporate architectural salvage into your custom home, it is important that all members of your team (designer and builder) have open communication regarding your salvaged installs so your build stays on schedule. Any piece that needs to be repaired or retrofitted prior to installing should be ready well in advance to avoid delays. And you should choose a custom builder, like Integrity Custom, that has experience in working with reclaimed house parts. Contact Integrity Custom here.

Using architectural salvage is all about thinking outside the box. The thing I love most about using salvage in a custom home or renovation is that it’s completely one-of-a-kind. No one else on your street will have the same fireplace mantel or kitchen island that you do. 

We’re curating a collection at East End Salvage that will help you create unforgettable design moments in your home. Check our online shop often and join us for our next Market at East End on December 7.

In just a few weeks, we are hitting up the largest antique show in England.  While we shop,  Integrity Custom will be prepping our McKinney historic barns for the winter market. Sign up for the East End Salvage email list HERE for more information about the Market and first dibs at tickets to our Preview Party. If you are building a custom home and are looking for a special piece, please reach out. We’d love to help search for you while we are out shopping! 


Custom vs. Semi-Custom vs. Production-Three Types of New Homes Available in DFW

When we discuss building new homes in DFW, there are three types of new construction homes that are available to prospective homeowners. They can choose between:

  1. Custom Homes

  2. Semi-Custom Homes

  3. Spec or Production Homes

We boast incredible builders in McKinney, TX in each category. But what’s the difference between the three types of new builds? Let’s dig in.

Custom Homes

When you build a custom home, you design every single detail of your new home build. You work with an architect to design everything from the layout to what type of trim will be added to your dining room. Out of the three options a custom home takes the most time to build, but the process is rewarding. This option is for those that have a vision or feel of what their new home should be.

Just because you are designing a home from scratch doesn't mean that the process can’t be enjoyable and fun! We have been a custom home builder in McKinney for over 10 years and have been building homes in DFW (Park Cities, Fairview, Van Alstyne, Dallas) for over 23 years. We work with a team of architects and designers to quickly and efficiently design your custom home.

We’ve made this process even more efficient by adding a private showroom to our office. So when designing your home, you will (at the same time) meet with the architect, builder, and preferred designer in our showroom. You will also have a consultation with a personal organizational expert and closet designer to make sure the storage areas of your home are personally designed just for you. Usually the builder will give an allowance on your new home estimate for specific selections in addition to the build cost (labor and materials).

If you are building on raw land, we have a team of engineers and highly engaged support staff to take care of ordinances (if any) and permits. We can search for the perfect piece of paradise with you, making sure that it’s suitable to build the home you envision. Building a custom home has never been easier with our one of a kind white-glove-service approach to custom home building. You can read more here about the 4 Phases of Building A Custom Home with us. Contact us to begin the custom build process.

A custom designed modern farmhouse in McKinney, TX. This home is now apart of Integrity Custom’s semi-custom home collection and available for immediate construction in  Sherman , TX.

A custom designed modern farmhouse in McKinney, TX. This home is now apart of Integrity Custom’s semi-custom home collection and available for immediate construction in Sherman, TX.

Semi Custom Homes

A semi custom home build is the best-of-both-worlds. A semi custom builder owns a library of home designs that are available to a prospective client. They pick a home design and the builder works with the homeowner to customize their selections, finishes and materials.

Integrity Custom’s new homes in Gateway Village in Denison, TX are an excellent example of a semi-custom home build. An architect, David Baca Studio, pre-designed five vintage-modern style homes. We are building 4 homes currently that will become spec homes. On the remaining 13 lots, a prospective client can choose their home design from our library of 5, and our preferred interior designer will walk them through the process of customizing the selections, finishes and materials.

We take your semi-customization a few steps further and consult with a professional organizer, closet expert, and even a home technology expert to customize the interior to suit your family’s needs. Our preferred interior designer has pre-chosen groups of selections based on price and style. It’s a good jumping off place to begin your custom design or the selections can speed up the process if time is a concern.

An Integrity Custom semi-custom home designed for  Gateway Village .

An Integrity Custom semi-custom home designed for Gateway Village.

Spec Home from a Production Builder

These home are completely move in ready. All the work has been done previously by the developer and builder. They have been designed and outfitted with the average homeowner of the area in mind.  But don’t let the word “average” fool you into thinking that every spec home is just “meh”. Although we are partial to building semi custom and custom homes, many spec homes in McKinney are extremely well designed. All of the finishes are usually on trend, and because it’s built to “sell”, a spec home is a great investment property. If you need a home quick and have zero interest in the design process, a spec home is your best option.

Out of the three types of new builds, which one is right for you? Reach out to us and we can help walk you through the process of deciding.

Learn about our Gateway Village Homes HERE. View our portfolio HERE. View our available property in McKinney HERE.

*The home builders in McKinney we recommend are:

Spec Homes/Production Builder: Highland Homes

Semi-Custom Builder: Darling Homes

Custom Home-Fuller Custom Homes (Along with being a great custom builder, George Fuller is also the mayor of McKinney, TX)

Contact Us for a more extensive list of recommended builders.

Custom Home Builder DFW-How To Build Or Remodel a Home in Four Phases

Being a custom home builder in DFW, we often see clients overwhelmed by the task of building a custom home or tackling a home renovation. We break down the steps of any custom build or remodel into four key phases.

Phase 1

Building a custom home requires vision casting. This is fun! After brainstorming sessions and visits to your home site, we turn your dreams into a set of actionable building plans. Integrity Custom works closely with experts in architecture and interior space planning to design spaces that are both beautiful and functional. We highly recommend that you hire a custom home builder that works closely with an architect and designer. Having both sitting at the table, along with a construction estimator, like we do at Integrity Custom, helps keep this phase stress free, productive and on budget. We also partner with engineers to assess the structural needs of your home. We come up with a master plan that neatly lays out your particular home building project and your budget. We may go back and forth many times on the final plans, tweaking them for preference and budget.

Depending on the scale of the project virtual reality technology (VRT) can also be used in helping you “walk through” your future home.

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Phase 2

Phase Two is the the nuts and bolts of the home build or home renovation process. It’s not sexy, and it goes without saying that there may be regret in this phase, especially if you are living in in the midst of a home remodel! It’s the taking-things-apart-to-make-them-better phase of building. If you are building a new home, you’ll get a chance to see the parts of your house that you’ll never see again. It consists of all the rough-in work such as plumbing, electrical, insulation, moving walls, and engineering. It’s messy and dirty, and we love every minute of it.

No walls or roof? Yep, it’s Phase 2 of the new home build process!

No walls or roof? Yep, it’s Phase 2 of the new home build process!

Phase 3

This is the trim-out phase, otherwise known as praise-Jesus-there-is-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel phase. We put in the cabinets, tile, sheetrock and all the pretty, shiny things. The master plan made in Phase 1 takes shape and your house begins to look like your dream home. This is when you can bring your friends over for a sneak peek and start planning your house warming party.

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Phase 4

If building your home was a college final, Phase Four would be the equivalent to a late night with a bright red pen! But since we’re home builders, we hand you a big roll of blue tape instead. You walk though your home, looking for places that may need a finishing touch. We add your items to our final punch list. We check off all the boxes before we wipe away the last layer of dust.

And the best part of it all? We close the door behind us, and leave you to soak in every moment of your new home; so immensely happy that you finally said yes to building your dream!


Ready to take the first step towards building a custom home in DFW? Contact us HERE or call us at (214) 982-1340.

View our custom and semi custom homes in Gateway Village HERE.

View our available property in McKinney, TX HERE.

View our Portfolio HERE.

Insulated Foam Board Benefits-Why Our Custom Homes Are Wrapped In Red

The custom homes we are building in Gateway Village, Texas, are wrapped in red insulated foam boards. While our eyes may see red, we’re thinking green. The boards are the latest in green building materials, and when we build homes with them, you save money on your build cost (keep reading to find out how), and end up with a more energy efficient home. Together, that means more green in your wallet AND a greener planet.

The red panels we use in building custom homes are called foam insulation boards. Our good friends at BASF and StarRFoam partner to create the foam board, and the product, called StarRGuard is distributed locally by Denison area business, Main Street Lumber.

When installed on the outside of a home, Insulated foam boards provide a continuous thermal barrier around the house as opposed to conventional insulation that is installed between the studs. When conventional wall cavity insulation is ONLY installed in a new build, a home loses or gains heat through the wood framing members, decreasing your home’s energy efficiency and driving up your energy costs.

We build homes in North Texas by combining both types of insulation. When used together, there are two additional benefits.

  1. Improving build costs. The insulated foam board allows us to reach our desired R-value within a smaller wall cavity. We can use 2x4 studs as opposed to 2x6 studs. This lessens your overall build cost.

  2. A more structurally sound framing system. The combination of the closed cell foam, the studs and the foam board combined create a much more structurally sound framing system, perhaps even more so than conventional framing.

Unlike other rigid insulation products, StarRguard Plus does not suffer from a degrading R-value. It maintains a stable R-value over the life of the product, which is backed by a ten year structural and performance warranty if combined with the BASF closed cell foam product sprayed in the wall cavities. An engineered set of framing plans is required for the warranty to be valid.

We use both types of insulation AND a stamped engineering set of framing plans (in partnership with ELD Engineering) on our new construction homes in Gateway Village which means along with the keys, the new homeowners will receive a warranty on insulation structure and performance with their home.

Have we sold you on the benefits of using insulated foam board in new home construction? If so, next time you drive by an Integrity Custom new build, and see it wrapped in red insulated foam boards, you’ll be thinking “green”, too.

Click HERE to view our Gateway Village, Denison TX new construction homes.

Click HERE to view our available property in McKinney, TX.

Click HERE to Contact Us.


Updating An Outdated Bathroom in McKinney

Modern Farmhouses. We’re known as the modern farmhouse builders in McKinney, but that’s not the only trick up our sleeve. This luxury bathroom remodel complete with sleek marble floors and modern brass accents is a break away from our beloved subway tile & reclaimed wood.

Regardless of style or scale, the core values of Integrity Custom remain the same. Craftsmanship, attention to detail and quality are the common threads in each of our projects. We tell your story by creating spaces that are well built and a joy to live in.

Working with the homeowner and designer, we transformed an outdated master bathroom into a modern spa-like retreat. Floating cabinets, marble floors, under the cabinet lights and hidden medicine cabinets are luxury details. The soaking tub is showcased by floor to ceiling tile and a glamorous modern light.

This master bathroom remodel is STUNNING, but that’s not just what it’s about at the end of the day. We helped create a space that will bring many moments of peace, fulfillment and relaxation to the homeowners. Quality build + quality design + quality materials = quality moments

Do you have questions about remodeling your home? Or maybe you’ve had your heart set on a custom new build, but are wondering if remodeling could be a good fit? We’d love to answer any questions you may have, brainstorm design ideas with you, and then put together an easy estimate so you’ll have all the facts to make an informed decision. CONTACT US here.

See the complete list of vendors below.

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A laundry hamper is concealed behind a custom door.


Floating cabinets make the space feel light and modern.

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His and hers vanities.

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Under the cabinet lights add to the light and airy glow effect of the room.

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There is a touch release, hidden medicine cabinet in each mirror.

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Home Design Trends To Watch For In 2019

We’ve scoured our favorite home design blogs to see what the predictions are for 2019 home design trends. Some trends, such as patterned tile and raw materials, our clients have been mastering for a while now. In fact, we installed patterned tile in almost every new construction or remodel we completed in 2018 (and many in 2017).

Read with caution, however. Doing away with upper cabinets in an historic remodel is a tough call and one we could never recommend if you are short on space. Your home should always fit your needs!

Our new construction homes at Gateway Village in Denison, Texas will have a more “modern” farmhouse feel than any we’ve built before and I could see these trends complimenting their design. Either way, our preferred designer can help you incorporate a cabinet color or source a colored appliance for you.

In the end, trends are fun, but should always be at the mercy of good design and functionality; absolutely NEVER the other way around!

  1. More Color In the Kitchen. Oh boy. We’d thought we’d start with the one that would give us the hardest time! Everyone knows how much we love an all white kitchen, right? Well, according to designers, the monotone look is out. Try painting cabinets a color or adding in a colored tile backsplash. These are great trends to follow because they won’t break the bank in the future if you want to change them!

  2. Matte Black. Stainless steel gets a matte black make-over, and we are loving it. Crossing over to the dark side it is!

GE combines three trends into one kitchen with their line of matte black appliances showcased in a home with colored cabinets!

GE combines three trends into one kitchen with their line of matte black appliances showcased in a home with colored cabinets!


3. Appliances With Color. If matte black isn’t your thing, maybe try appliances with color and even pattern. European brands have always had color as an option and we think this is a fun trend to follow.


4. Patterns are IN. Textured, flowered wallpaper and patterned tile are still in. We installed patterned floor tile in almost every home we remodeled or built in 2018. Designers are predicting more of the same for 2019.


5. Raw Materials. If the all white kitchen is out, thank goodness raw materials are still in! Reclaimed wood and raw stone are having their heyday. Looks like we’ve been on this trend for quite a while!


6. Digital Technology. Smart homes are happening! We’ve partnered with an award winning home technology company to make every Integrity Custom home a smart home. Audio Video Innovations keeps us and our clients up to date on the latest home technology trends and advances.

Smart home Patio completed by Audio Video Innovations and  Moisan Remodeling .

Smart home Patio completed by Audio Video Innovations and Moisan Remodeling.

7. Leather Drawer Pulls. Small touches like this make a huge impact. We would love to find a local McKinney artist who hand makes leather drawer pulls. If you have a referral, please send them our way!


8. Minimalist Kitchens. Still no upper cabinets. If remodeling or building, consider adding a butler’s pantry or incorporating an antique armoire for more storage space.


All images from Pinterest.

The Modern Farmhouse

Watercolor by Audrey DeFord

Watercolor by Audrey DeFord

The Modern Farmhouse new construction project in historic McKinney was a pinnacle project of 2017. The nuts and bolts of this home have been circulating in my head for over 10 years. Inspired by a home I fervently followed being built in Oak Cliff, rough design ideas were transformed into buildable plans by the perfect serendipitous storm of client, available lot and time. 

Of course, those were humble beginnings. The homeowners have a serious background in design, and knew the exact features that would turn this house into THEIR home. 

Reclaimed shiplap, an antique staircase, and patterned concrete tiles are just a few of the details that contribute to the home's wow factor, which is not pushy or showy. Luxury touches, grounded in comfort create spaces that are calm and livable. Isn't that everything a home should be?

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Living room view with door leading into the library/office.

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A combination of stone, reclaimed wood and poured concrete on the fireplace surround.

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Reclaimed shiplap ceiling paired with Crate & Barrel Sconces for a true Modern Farmhouse look.

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Patterned concrete tile and a modern soaking tub in the master bath.

A reclaimed staircase from the late 1800's. 

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The upstairs office. 

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The upstairs media room features a screened in balcony porch. 

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Outdoor living spaces still in progress. 

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A version of this home is available for new construction and is currently planned to be built in Gateway Village. Contact us to begin designing your dream home. 

Creativity Through Constraint In An Historic Cottage

"Boosting Creativity Through Constraints and Creative Constraint: Why Tighter Boundaries Propel Greater Results are the names of two articles in a sea of many that are popping up in media outlets ranging from business to fashion. It seems there is a creativity boost when the "sky ISN'T the limit".  Environments with restraints, restrictions, rules, and boundaries (what ever names they happen to go by) are catalysts for creativity. In other words, thinking "within a box", spurs "out of the box" thinking. When boundaries are movable, there's simply no reason to crush through them. 

Potential clients walk into our office and say "We've talked to a few people, heard it's not possible, but they've said to reach out to you anyway." Or we walk a delapidated property with a potential buyers for the first time and after sharing their vision, look at us sheepily and say "Are we crazy....can this even be done?" Those conversations end up being the first steps in our most satisfying projects. 

Historic properties, and really all renovations or restorations for that matter, have their own playbook, a set of rules pre-determined by the hands that built them or the bank account that's funding them.  Granted, items like plumbing and electrical can be moved, but isn't your focus more intense when your chess opponent has your king in check? "GAME ON", right? 

We have a special place in our heart for the dreamers that take on that playbook, crumple it up, and free throw it right in the garbage pail. This historic McKinney cottage, built in 1935, has been featured in Country Living Magazine and more recently on It's inspiration is far more reaching than the walls of our office or our town. 

The replacement of a burnt out furnace sparked the remodel. Then, can we add another bathroom? Why not a fireplace, too, and a master bedroom upstairs?  Before any of us knew it, we were in a full blown remodel, and simply amazed at what could be achieved within the confines of this beautiful, 1538 square foot cottage. 

Enjoy the home tour below. The homeowner, Cynthia, has a love for all things vintage and antique and an absolute gift for putting it all together! We've also added links for more articles discussing creativity through constraints at the bottom of this page if you'd like to learn more.  

If you've been told that it can't be done, or if you're guilty of  telling YOURSELF that you'll never have your dream home, give us a call. We welcome the opportunity to work within your constraints, whatever they may be, to give you the home of your design and dreams.


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The trim pieces covering the gaps in the original shiplap were added for practical purposes. The texture and finished look was an added surprise. 

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After exposing the brick, we fashioned a spice rack, using salvage wood. 

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My favorite part is the kitchen. It’s a great place to cook, bake and gather.
— Cynthia W. (homeowner & out of the box thinker)

We don't choose the house. The house chooses us.

This is our first blog post of this kind, in essence, a home tour and spotlight. We did not perform any work here or consult in any way shape or form, however, that's where our differences end, because this house, these homeowners, well, they are kindred spirits and embody our style and philosophy here at Integrity Custom.  

Such as happened to many of us before, it seems that we don't choose the house..the house chooses us, and the marriage of Old Quail Run Farm to Rick and Jennifer Taylor follows suit. Not quite at all what they had in mind, but after just being on the property momentarily, they knew it was home.

A perfect blend of old and new, Jennifer and Rick restored the original homestead, exposing a good portion of the shiplap, and expanding the footprint by adding a modern living/master bedroom space through a linear addition.  The space is brought to life with vintage and antique finds carted home from Jennifer's many antiquing trips. Her love of treasure hunting spawned the idea of hosting a barn sale, and thus the Vintage Barn Sales at Old Quail Run Farm were born.

A power house in the Texoma region, Jennifer owns and operates  Bon Appetit Ya'll, a wildly successful catering business which has expanded to host Farm-To-Table Dinners on her beloved farm. In the intimate setting of her backyard, she highlights local flavor and pairs coursed meals with organic, sustainable wines. 

A house is a material, worldly possession. It's a thing. We get that. But there is a change that occurs to the person that sets out to resurrect a tattered space. Pieces of it's past life rub off and awaken. For Old Quail Run Farm that means Farm To Table Dinners and Vintage Barn Sales are on the menu.

Who knows what's next?  The house and land wants what it wants. And if the homeowners are open, listen,  and allow the physical transformation of the space to spill over, new experiences and dreams begin to take shape. As usual, we are feeling rather fortunate that we get to come along for the ride!

Make sure to visit the Old Quail Run Farm website HERE and follow along on Facebook and Instagram @oldquailrunfarm for news and updates.

Photography and words by Melinda Ortley.

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See Old Quail Run Farm for yourself at Rick and Jennifer's Vintage Barn Sale in October. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS!  We'll be there shopping and eating right along with you!


Saving vs. Restoration

My daughter and I entered in a discussion recently regarding the difference between the words "save" and "restore". We agreed that those words yielded two very different definitions. Without even opening up a dictionary, we inherently feel that to SAVE means to stop something from further degradation. To RESTORE means to bring it back to life. It's an active word, and much more laborious of a verb than just "to save".  Restoration happens after the "saving" has been done and we start moving (carefully and slowly) back up the ladder so to speak, and into what that thing was before it started to become, well, less. 

The restoration of the Gough-Hughston (the name formally used on the National Registry) home on Louisiana Street is a "restoration" in the true sense of the word. The owners fell in love with the home many years ago, and it's taken trial and error for them to find a contractor that shared that same infatuation. And if you follow us even just a smidge, you know that it was a match made in heaven.

When you look at the project from the outside looking in, you might begin to question the time line. But looking at it from the inside out yields an entirely different perspective. 

Let's take the story of JUST the windows for example. Every window was taken out, glass removed, frames and jams rebuilt, hardware re-worked, new rope and then original glass re-installed. All of the wood and glass we needed were sourced with the same era and type, which meant that we first needed to locate the exact species of wood and then have it shipped for milling. Once we receive the wood, to continue working on that particular window and to make cuts that match,  blades and knives must be custom made.  And this is just for the windows! 

But....ALL OF THE WINDOWS WORK! How many of us who have ever lived in an older home can say that about historical windows! We are proud of what our skilled craftsman accomplished here in just that one area.

Other than feeling like we won the lottery that our company gets to take part in and revel in the beauty of this living and breathing space, I'm thankful for the individuals (owners and fellow old house lovers) that are putting their resources and energy into, not just saving, but RESTORING, pieces of our past. Our history is worth it! 



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Master woodworker, Dru, holds a window header after repair and multiple landings. Every header of EVERY window is having this same treatment. 

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The day that this particular window was re-installed, the crew said they couldn't sleep the night before, knowing that it is irreplaceable.

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Make sure to read up above to learn the vast number of steps and stages that a single window must transition between in order for it be repaired!

A special frame with very specific dimensions and angles was built in order to repair and rebuild this curved window header. 

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100 Year Old Shiplap. Mixing Old and New in a Modern Farmhouse design.

We just installed beautiful 100 year old ship lap on the master bedroom ceiling of our Modern Farmhouse custom build in historic downtown McKinney, TX. We are offering a version of this floor plan in Gateway Village, and it will have it's own unique touches of farmhouse charm and history.

Scroll down to see where this wood lived in it's previous life.

We love the glimpse you get of the 100 year old banister and stairwell.

The banister and ceiling make a great pair, don't you think?

We thought you might want to see the life it lived before now. It was salvaged from an old grain elevator in Crowley, Texas.

Introducing Simon Keizer





We couldn't be more thrilled to welcome Simon Keizer to the Integrity Custom team. We appreciate and admire his creative spirit and contagious, uplifting attitude. His official title is Investor Relations and Business Administrator, and we're excited for him to work alongside us in furthering our vision in North Texas!

Read below to learn more about Simon and visit our Investment page to see what we have planned and are planning in the future!

1. What gets you pumped about investing in real estate in the North Texas/Texoma region?

Being a long time resident of Texoma, I am fired up about the strength of our economy, the flooding in of new residents from all over the country (and worldwide) that are all looking for real estate in North Texas. The opportunity is thrilling.

2. What is your vision for the greater Texoma region in the next day 10 years?

Texoma is on the precipice of exploding and servicing as a NEW METRO for those that want to be beyond the city, enjoy some wide open spaces, but with all the conveniences of city living, as well as the enjoyment of the largest lake in the State.  I envision thousands of new jobs in our varied industries, and a residential and retail boom that will reach every corner of the greater Texoma area. 

3. What do you like about being a member of the Integrity Team?

We laugh, we have fun, we encourage, and we challenge each other to live lives of integrity as we serve the vision both of the Company, and the greater mission of being kingdom minded guys and girls who look to consistently put others before ourselves.  I love the ever expanding vision of the company, to tell stories, and to turn houses into homes.

4. How do you define "integrity"?

Integrity is a character trait that compels ourselves and others to uphold the highest standards, and a true match of good character in private and public life.  It is a rare commodity in our society and in business, and is a reflection of a sincere heart.

5. What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to spend time with my wife and 4 kids. I love to travel, after growing up in the UK. I enjoy a game of soccer and I love to coach. A great date night out would be to go to see a Broadway show and find a quaint place to eat.

To see what Simon has been up to, visit our Investments page, and click on the contact button to say Hello!



Where The Stories of Life Unfold

When the opportunity to purchase this home became available to us years ago, we jumped at the chance. It was an uninspiring, dark almost one room shotgun house, with a poorly designed addition, but if you squinted, closed one eye, jumped up and down on one foot, and pulled out your thinking cap, you could see the potential. needed a little work.

We immediately stripped the addition off and waited until the right family, who wore the same rose colored glasses that we did, walked through the door. They had vision and started designing their forever space.  It's inspiring (and a little bit addicting) to witness the transformation and see the space rise to it's potential!

Interior designer, Kaci Lyford, owner of Patina Green Home and Market was hired to collaborate with the busy family on design details, but as she states and we agree, the homeowner had incredible taste and made all of our jobs a breeze!  I can't say enough about how much we enjoyed this collaboration and the end result...well, it speaks for itself. 

There will be open shelves and a four inch marble back splash added this week. The vintage kitchen window was purchased during Antiques Week in Round Top, TX by the homeowner.

The plumbing fixtures in the kitchen are "living brass" which is un-lacquered, so they will only get more beautiful with time!

The flooring is salvage, as is the mantle. The two leaded glass windows flanking the fireplace were purchased from Tumbleweeds Architectural Supply Company in McKinney.

The paneled antique doors that were installed on barn slides were salvaged from a house in Upstate New York, and add tons of character. 

We used pieces of the leftover flooring for the laundry room countertop. The brick flooring is also salvaged and was used to brick the fireplace.

We love the use of an antique farm table instead of a traditional vanity cabinet in the powder bath. 

This amazing concrete tile was sourced locally from Riad Tile in Dallas, TX. 

The shower tile is handmade subway tile, an unusual 3" x 12", and gives a timeless yet custom look.

And our absolute favorite photo of them all. It's a beautiful reminder as to what we actually build; homes where the stories of life unfold.  Places where babies will come home for the first time, birthdays will be celebrated, living rooms where backpacks will be strewn across the floor and camp duffel bags unpacked, and front porches where tears are shed as kiddos turn into graduates and spread their wings. Oh, we build so much more than just houses.

Are you interested in joining our story?  View our available properties in Collin and Grayson Counties by clicking on the link or above under Available Property. Click to view our Investment Opportunities and Contact Us. We'd love to hear from you!

Design by Kaci Lyford Interiors.

Antique window, paneled doors, and vanity table purchased at Patina Green Home & Market in McKinney, TX.

Concrete tile from Riad Tile, in Dallas, TX

Houses into Homes in McKinney's Historic District

There is a such a sense of accomplishment when the last walk through is completed and we see moving trucks around the corner. The boxes are checked, little pieces of blue tape removed from the walls and we close the door behind us, leaving the new homeowners eager to resume their former lives, ready to move forward with plans that may have been put on hold and ultimately, curious as to how their new space will settle out and become a home.

On Tuesday, we toured a property that was completed almost 7 months ago. When we last visited, the dust hadn't quite settled.  This wonderful antique wine tasting table, purchased at Round Top, was in it's final resting spot then, but bare, without chairs around it to sit and enjoy a meal. Now, it's standing at the ready, humbly awaiting the next clinking of wine glasses or first cup of coffee served on a cold day. 

So many personal touches, like the fireplace screen and vintage plates in the dining room, turned the house we built into a family home; into a space where pictures of grand babies are proudly affixed to the refrigerator door and artwork carried home from a family vacation is hung on the wall as a testimony to the memories made.

The accomplishment of building a house makes us proud. Seeing that "house" become a "home" makes us utterly humble.

An Historic Cottage's Playful Exterior in McKinney, Texas.

We love the creativity and playful nature of this cottage in downtown McKinney. The homeowner hit the nail on the head, when choosing the color scheme and architectural accents, and has a gift for finding antique salvage pieces, like that gorgeous front antique door and hardware and cast iron tub-turned-planter.

One of the things we love most about this cottage is that it's a few blocks OUTSIDE of McKinney's historic district. I think sometimes an historical designation line prevents potential homeowners from finding their forever home, when in reality there are some real beauties just outside of the district, too.  Exercising the skill to think "outside of the box" and taking a leap of faith can lead to the proverbial pot of gold, as I think this homeowner has found.

And let's be honest, McKinney, TX is just an awesome place to live...east, west, north or south of the downtown square!

We are restoring and renovating the interior as well, so follow along for updates and more images soon!

Historic Home Renovation & Restoration in downtown McKinney, TX.

There are some houses that are iconic. This is one of those homes in McKinney's historic district. It's one of the last homes before the commercial buildings begin on the downtown square, and anyone who drives into McKinney's downtown, goes right past it.  Sometimes, when you see something often, you might take it for granted, but never did that happen with this home. It has always had the ability to catch my eye and turn my head...every drive into town.

We were initially commissioned to rework the upstairs into a more functional master suite, and update the back pergola into a luxury outdoor living space.  Well, it snowballed from there, as historic homeowners know is usually the way of remodeling! We now have our amazing crew working in almost every corner of the home, uncovering what was original to the home, and planning to make it shine once more.

An iconic home right as you hit the downtown McKinney square.

An iconic home right as you hit the downtown McKinney square.

This archway detail around the inset windows is amazing. Details!

This archway detail around the inset windows is amazing. Details!

I think the plan right now is for the stairwell shiplap to remain as a feature wall.

I think the plan right now is for the stairwell shiplap to remain as a feature wall.

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We are combining a few closets and rooms upstairs to design the master suite. The shiplap on the ceiling will stay exposed.

We are combining a few closets and rooms upstairs to design the master suite. The shiplap on the ceiling will stay exposed.

Back downstairs, this is the room you walk into from the front door.

Back downstairs, this is the room you walk into from the front door.

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Color testing!

Color testing!